A recent survey conducted by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has found almost half of midwives do not feel safe attending home visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Of those who felt unsafe, 99% said they were worried about contracting coronavirus and 46% said it was because of lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Responding to the survey, CEO of RCM Gill Walton said: “Up and down the country, midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) are doing all they can to provide the care and support pregnant women need. We are concerned that so many of them feel unsafe working in the community and carrying out home visits. The lack of appropriate PPE has been well-documented during this crisis and it is having a significant impact on our members’ ability to carry out home visits safely. This is simply not good enough.”
The survey has been conducted shortly before an appearance of Gill Walton before the House of Commons Health & Social Care Select Committee to discuss the NHS’s ability to provide key services during the pandemic.
It was also found that a third of midwives and MSWs who reported symptoms of coronavirus have been tested. Of those who received a test, more than 20% had to travel over ten miles from their home to be tested.
“We need more midwives to be tested at a much quicker rate than is currently happening so those that are self-isolating can get back to work as soon as possible. Even before the pandemic, maternity services were struggling with staff shortages. Now around a fifth of midwife roles are unstaffed which understandably impacts on service provision, including home births and antenatal and postnatal appointments,” Gill added.
The survey was completed by 942 midwives, MSWs and student midwives between 21 and 28 April 2020.
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